Monday, March 27, 2006

There was nobody praying when we hit the objective

Stanislaw Lem, the Polish science fiction author, has died. If you don’t know him, or just know him as the author of Solaris, go read the satiric short stories in Cyberiad or the reviews of non-existent books in Perfect Vacuum.

Berlusconi, who is running for reelection against the Communist menace, says China under Mao used babies as fertilizer.

So after raiding that secret Iraqi Interior Ministry prison, the Americans decided they had made a mistake, that it was really a legitimate facility – you know, one of the good secret dungeons not one of the bad secret dungeons – legitimately holding a bunch of Sudanese, supposedly for violating residency laws. Well, my concerns are certainly allayed.

Two British residents who were rendered to Guantanamo from Gambia after MI5 told the CIA they had bomb parts in fact had... a battery charger. That was in 2002. They’re still in Gitmo.

Sez Lt Col Sean Swindell about the Mustafa Mosque raid, “There was nobody praying when we hit the objective, they were firing weapons at us.” But failing to hit anything? That sentence had an if-she-floats-she’s-a-witch-if-she-drowns-she-was-innocent vibe when I first read it. And a Lt Gen Peter Chiarelli claims that the enemy – gasp – staged the pictures of unarmed dead bodies in the mosque (the second picture is a screen-grab from Iraqi tv); “After the fact, someone went in and made the scene look different from what it was, for whatever purposes.” The perfidy! So, the troops and, ahem, advisers didn’t even bother to secure the scene?

One point made by an Iraqi official: a bunch of people were killed (figures given have ranged from 17 to 37), but none wounded, which tends rather to suggest execution, not firefight.

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